Indianapolis welcomed numerous youths and their beef cattle last weekend for the 26th annual Hoosier Beef Congress.
Hoosier Beef Congress is more than just a cattle show for its participants. Many think of it as a part of the holidays that falls between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Many changes were noticed at beef congress this year, with the designated show ring being the most significant. With the renovation of the coliseum taking place, limited barn space was available. This year the Exposition Hall was chosen to be used for showing and the trade show to allow for more stalling space in the cattle barn.
More than 650 heifers and more than 350 steers made their way to the Indiana State Fairgrounds last weekend.
Hoosier Beef Congress is well-known for the challenging showmanship contest that kicks off the three day event. More than 200 individuals competed in the showmanship semi-finals on Saturday, where there was a top winner in each of the four divisions and a supreme showman was awarded.
Of the four individuals who made it to the very top placing in their division, senior showmanship winner Bailey Wesner of Chalmers was named supreme showman. Other division winners were: Collin Bowlin of Jasper, intermediate division; Kallie Anne Knott of LaOtto, junior division and Karly Kirkpatrick of Avilla, novice division.
Area top individuals in the novice division were Brooke Hayden of Lowell and Luke Dixon of Rensselaer.
Junior division top individuals were Dillon Sheiss of Larwill and Parker Reed of Galveston.
In the senior division, Katelyn Wilson of Ligonier and Jackie St.George of Larwill placed in the top five.
Supreme showman winner Bailey Wesner used her heifer to compete in showmanship at one of her favorite events of the show season.
"I just really like the atmosphere, the facilities and I enjoy the cooler weather. Beef Congress is also the kickoff to the show season which, I enjoy."
Wesner has exhibited at Hoosier Beef Congress for several years as well as showing at the Indiana State Fair throughout her years of being a 4-H member.
Wesner spends many hours in her barn preparing her animals for congress.
"At home, we prepare the steers and heifers by breaking them to lead, which is most important. We also make sure the daily chores get done as well as washing the cattle to prepare them for their first show at Beef Congress."
As Wenser prepares for her shows throughout the coming months, there is one individual she has always looked up to.
"My older sister, Courtney, I've always enjoyed working with her. I enjoy when all three of us girls are out in the barn taking care of our beef cattle and preparing for upcoming shows."
Wesner is a freshman at Lake Land College and is in the agriculture transfer program. She is undecided as to what she wants to eventually major in, but she knows one thing: she always wants her cattle to be a part of her life.
In the heifer show, division one champion Hereford heifer was awarded to Bremen's Chase Laudeman.
Elizabeth Beer of Milford received reserve champion with her Gelbvieh heifer.
Colton Geiger of Columbia City had the division two champion Chianina and Mason Awald of Walkerton had reserve.
Rebekah Diehm of Kendallville exhibited the champion Shorthorn Plus heifer and Brittany Fisher of LaPorte had reserve.
Champion Sim-Solution heifer was awarded to Samuel Diehm of Kendallville.
Reserve champion division one Commercial heifer was exhibited by Harper Henney of Angola while Devan Hay of Leesburg showed the division three reserve champion Commercial heifer.
Grand champion heifer of the show was awarded to Parker Reed of Galveston with his Chianina heifer. Alison Nichols of Sullivan with her Shorthorn heifer was selected as reserve champion of the show.
In the steer show, Sheridan Fox of Bremen exhibited the reserve champion Shorthorn steer.
Division one champion Chianina steer was awarded to Rachel Streitmatter of Rensselaer and Rachel Rogers of Kendallville exhibited the reserve.
North Manchester's Cody Michel received champion with his Chianina steer in division two.
Streitmatter and Rogers continued with their success and received champion Chianina and reserve champion, respectively.
The champion Simmental steer was shown by Haley Fulk of Lowell.
In the division one crossbred steer classes, Harper Henney of Angola received champion.
Grand champion steer was the champion Crossbred exhibited by Chloe Martin of Kingman and the reserve champion steer was the reserve crossbred shown by Austen Irvin of Mooreland. Rachel Streitmatter of Rensselaer was third overall with her Chianina.
Officially placing the senior showmanship contest was Jon Sweeney of Michigan City. Sweeney is originally from Mitchellville, Iowa, where he graduated from Iowa State University. He currently represents Elanco throughout Indiana and Michigan. Sweeney grew up showing Simmentals and currently raises Maine Anjou cattle.
Ceaderville, Ohio native Kayla Campbell critiqued the intermediate showmanship classes. Campbell grew up in Ohio on a Chianina, Maine Anjou and crossbred operation. She is a graduate of Purdue University, where she received her agriculture business degree. Currently, Campbell works for Pioneer in Valparaiso.
Emily Griffiths of Kendallville worked with the junior showmanship individuals last Saturday. Griffiths is the co-owner/operator of 3G Ranch that is comprised of 150 head of purebred Gelbvieh, Limousin and Charolais. She is currently the program assistant at Leadership Fort Wayne. Griffiths is a graduate of Blackhawk College and Western Illinois University, where she was a part of the judging team at both